Charles McCall

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks with Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill about the failure by the State House to pass a measure to increase taxes on cigarettes, gas, low-pont beer and oil and gas wells to help fix a $215M shortfall in the budget, the State Health Department says it can't make payroll at the end of the month without a supplemental appropriation from the legislature and a national credit rating agency warns Oklahoma could drop in its credit rating because of a failure to fix the budget.

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks with Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill and, sitting in for Ryan Kiesel, Stillwater Democratic Representative Cory Williams about the House failing to pass a Republican plan to fix the shortfall in the budget, House Minority Leader Scott Inman announcing his resignation from the state legislature as well as dropping out of the governor's race and the State Supreme Court declaring unconstitutional a law which would have added fees on to electric and hybrid vehicles.

Michael Cross / KOSU

Democrats in the Oklahoma House voted down a GOP-backed package that would have increased taxes on cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, low point beer and fuel on a tense day at the state capitol.

The plan would have also given a pay raise to teachers and some state employees.

Jacob McCleland / Oklahoma Public Media Exchange

Five weeks after calling a special session, Gov. Mary Fallin announced Monday that Republicans in the state House and Senate have reached a budget deal to fill a $215 million shortfall.

Updated Oct. 23 at 1:43 p.m. with Democratic response.

Fallin said the agreement would increase the cigarette tax by $1.50 per pack of cigarettes, hike the motor fuel tax by 6 cents, and change the alcoholic beverage tax. It would also provide a $3,000 teacher pay raise, a $1,000 pay raise for some state employees, and restore the Earned Income Tax Credit.

Emily Wendler / StateImpact Oklahoma

The Oklahoma City Public School Board of Education unanimously approved a resolution on Monday that gives district leadership the green light to pursue a lawsuit against the state.

Board members say lawmakers are not adequately funding education and they hope legal action changes that.

The resolution says legislative leaders don’t give schools enough money to do what is required of them by law, and therefore have failed to comply with their constitutional responsibility to fund public education.

It was a wild day at the state capitol as lawmakers tried to find new sources of revenue to fill the nearly $900 million budget shortfall and fund teacher pay raises. But, with just three days left to find new money, they’re likely back at the drawing board.

Starting about noon, there were rumors that a budget agreement had been reached between the Republican leaders in the House of Representatives and the Senate and Governor Mary Fallin. The scheduled an announcement for 2:30 p.m.

All of the bills promising a teacher pay raise are dead for this legislative session. But, some lawmakers are still fighting for one.

The Senate’s deadline to vote on House Bill 1114 was Thursday, but they chose to not even discuss the measure.

The bill proposed a multi-year approach to increasing teacher pay, starting with a 1,000 raise next year, and a 6,000 dollar bump by year three.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

In March, the legislature asked state agencies how they would deal with worst-case budget reductions of nearly 15 percent. A cut that deep at the Department of Tourism could cost Oklahoma half of its state parks.

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks with ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel and Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill about the Office of Management and Enterprise Services announcing it had taken $240M from the state's Rainy Day Fund to pay for operating expenses and the House heats up with a bill to provide a $34M supplemental appropriation to the Department of Human Services.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

One major tax incentive for wind energy remains on the books in Oklahoma. And the Legislature is poised to end it — more than three years early. The politics of renewable energy have changed as state revenues have failed, but some wind producers say lawmakers are backing out on a deal, and that sends a bad message to any industry considering investing in Oklahoma.

Oklahoma’s wind industry has grown year after year. With 3,400 turbines spread across 41 wind farm projects, the state ranks No. 3 in the nation in the American Wind Energy Association’s report on wind power capacity.

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